Ravens report card at the Bengals

December, 30, 2013
12/30/13
4:30
PM ET
Grading the Baltimore Ravens in their 34-17 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco had another rough outing, but I'm not sure how many quarterbacks with one good leg would fare against that constant pass rush. Of his three fourth-quarter interceptions, one came on a deflected pass and another was thrown while being sandwiched on an all-out blitz. The third pick was just a poor throw behind Torrey Smith, and it was returned for a touchdown. Flacco's longest pass was 14 yards, a reflection on the pass rush and his inability to step into passes. Without the ability to comfortably run out of the pocket, Flacco got hit so many times that he hurt his left knee again as well as elbow. Giving Flacco a failing mark here would be another hit that he doesn't deserve. Grade: D.

Running backs: Bernard Pierce was the more effective runner, averaging 5.6 yards and breaking a 14-yard run. Ray Rice was able to get around the corner for the game-tying two-point conversion in the third quarter. But his best run was his celebratory sprint down the sideline after reaching the end zone. Where was that burst all season? Rice's thigh injury, though, limited him to two series in the first half. It was the eighth time this year that the Ravens were held under 3.5 yards per carry as a team and failed to score a rushing touchdown. Grade: D.

Wide receivers/tight ends: Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones were non-factors because the Bengals took away the deep pass. They combined for four catches for 38 yards. Jones would’ve had a touchdown in the fourth quarter if Flacco had thrown into the middle of the field, but a blitz caused him to hurry a pass to the outside. Dennis Pitta caught eight passes for 63 yards, but only three went for first downs. Rookie Marlon Brown came up big in the red zone, scoring the Ravens’ only touchdown. Grade: D.

Offensive line: The Ravens had trouble handling the Bengals’ blitzes, speed off the edges and twists inside, which exposed communication problems between guards Marshal Yanda and A.Q. Shipley as well as center Gino Gradkowski. Left tackle Eugene Monroe got beat by Michael Johnson for one sack. In total, the Ravens allowed two sacks and seven quarterback hits. Baltimore wanted to run in the red zone, but it was another tough day for the ground game (3.4 yards per carry). Grade: D.

Defensive line: The Ravens missed Art Jones, their best lineman who was inactive after suffering a concussion the previous game. Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis gouged Baltimore in between the tackles, gaining 66 yards on 11 carries. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata finished with a season-high seven tackles. In comparison, the other linemen combined for seven tackles. Grade: D.

Linebackers: Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil combined for no sacks and no quarterback pressures. Suggs finished with one tackle, and Dumervil was shut out. Andy Dalton fooled Suggs twice on the read option, scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard run. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith only had five tackles. Smith and the other linebackers had difficulty keeping up with shifty running back Giovani Bernard in the passing game. Grade: F.

Secondary: It was a boom-or-bust kind of a game for the defensive backs. The Ravens picked off Dalton four times, getting interceptions from Corey Graham, James Ihedigbo, Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith. Graham and Smith wrestled the ball away for the turnovers, and Smith did so in the end zone. But the Ravens also had trouble sticking with the receivers. Safety Matt Elam got burned so bad by A.J. Green that he tried to hold the Pro Bowl receiver and whiffed, which resulted in a 53-yard touchdown. Baltimore also lost track of Andrew Hawkins in the end zone in the second quarter, but Dalton overthrew him. Grade: C.

Special teams: Justin Tucker had another multiple field goal game, hitting from 38, 22 and 34 yards. Jacoby Jones was solid on returns, averaging 28.2 on kickoffs. But one of his long runbacks was hurt by a penalty on Jeromy Miles. Punter Sam Koch netted 41.7 yards on six punts. Grade: B-minus.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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